I understand now: A note to my mother for Mother’s Day



Another Mother’s Day has rolled around. This is #13 for me without my mother, a living one anyway. I’ve been sitting on this note to my mother for a long time. I’m sharing some of the cancer part of it today.

If you’re missing a mother (or someone else), writing a note to her/him can be a helpful tool when you’re missing them. If this person you miss and grieve for happens to be your mother, Mother’s Day might be the perfect time to write that note.

If you do decide to try writing one, let me know how it goes and if it helps.

Thank you for reading mine.

Dear Mother,

I understand now.

I understand so much more about many things, but today I want to share a couple things about cancer, specifically, your metastatic breast cancer experience, that I now better understand after having had a cancer diagnosis myself.

I’m sorry if it seemed I did not understand what you were going through when you really needed me to. But I know you understand that.

I understand so much better now how you felt when you were sick.

I understand now about the exhaustion. I know it was brutal.

I understand why you lost interest in movies, TV and even reading books – the latter being one of your greatest passions in life.

I understand how food (another great love) came to be something you could not tolerate to even look at.

I understand your obsession with bowel movements.

I understand how it felt to lose your hair and be “forced” to wear silly-looking hats and turbans.

I understand how sometimes you didn’t want to take phone calls, much less make them.

I understand that sometimes even those you loved most were downright annoying at times. Okay, probably pretty often.

I understand how lonely you felt going through cancer, especially the metastatic part.

I understand why you looked forward to the end of each day and the respite only sleep could bring.

I understand your feelings of frustration, anger, humiliation and despair – just to name a few.

I understand your desire to learn everything you could about breast cancer and your obsession regarding genetic testing for your children.

I really understand why you were so irritated when I dragged my feet about that testing.

I understand why you wanted to talk about breast cancer and why you were probably frustrated and annoyed when it seemed we were trying to close such discussions down.

I understand now how selfish that was of us. Of me.

I understand why you were sometimes irritated with your doctors and nurses because they seemed to treat someone of your age in a condescending manner.

I understand why, at the same time, you felt safe and secure in a hospital bed under the care of certain doctors and nurses who did care for you with compassion, skill and utmost respect.

I know there is still much I do not understand about all that you went through, but I do understand a whole lot more. Not just about cancer, but other life stuff too.

Mostly, I understand even better now what a wonderful mother I had.

Yes, I understand.

We miss you. We love you.


Daughter #3.

Happy Mother’s Day greetings to moms, grandmas, aunts and all the others out there who love and nurture children, whether they be their own or not. If the day is difficult for you for whatever reason, you are not alone.

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Have you ever written a note to a loved one who has died or are you thinking about doing so?

Cancer or no cancer, what is something (good or bad) you better understand now about your mother?

Is your mother still living?

I understand now (a note to my #mother for #Mother'sDay #family #mothers #daughters #love #grief #loss #writing

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